Leadership Institute of New Sudan 2009 Graduation Ceremony

Category: Commentary
Published on Wednesday, 30 December 2009 07:25
Written by Mangar G. Amerdid
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As part of the 2009 Graduation Ceremony for the 2009 Leadership Institute, LIONS  Founder and Executivewebsite20head

Director Mangar G. Amerdid gave the following speech:

 

I have the honor to greet you and welcome you to the first graduation of the Leadership Institute

of New Sudan (LIONS). On behalf of LIONS, I wish to express my gratitude and thanks to the

University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies for partnering with us in this

pilot course, and to Humanity United, which provided the funding for the course.

 

Tonight we are taking a step, a step forward in the history of the nation of Sudan.

 

Since the time of our independence in 1956, over half a century has gone by. Half a century is a

lifetime in Sudan. Civil wars have been fought, peace agreements have been made and broken,

MILLIONS of people have died, millions more have been forced to flee.

 Many of the best and brightest of the older generation have died or have lost the will to lead. On some level, we might

ALL agree that prospects for a new Sudan are bleak. Yet I see it differently. I see a more positive

future. I see that Sudan, especially the central and southern regions, is rich in natural resources,

water, minerals, oil, and farm land, and all of Sudan is even richer in her human resources.

 

The women and men of Sudan must now rely on themselves. They must develop the capacity to

develop the best leaders. With good leadership we can emerge from the long years of suffering

and take our place in the community of nations.

 

Since coming to the United States of America I have realized that in every generation, there are

those that have the gifts to lead, still others will be thrust by fate into situations where they must

lead, and still others, if given the opportunity, can develop their unique talents, so that they are

capable and competent to serve their communities in Sudan.

 

I believe investing in the development of leaders is the key to a strong, peaceful and democratic

nation and the way to bring equality, human rights, and access to basic services to all the people

of Sudan. An ongoing program such as this Leadership Institute will yield major returns by

providing the human resources needed to sustain democratic development in Sudan.

 

In this way, the affairs of our governmental structures, as well as the management of

development projects, whether on a large scale such as building roads, or on a smaller scale such

as building local schools and digging wells, which some of you are already involved in, those

projects will be managed and prosper and will benefit from the skills and abilities of individuals

who know what it means to lead.

 

Without this investment, any New Sudan will be like a new car with the best technology but

without skilled drivers to take it safely on the road. We cannot squander the investment being

made by the United States by failing to develop the women and men who can carry forward the

programs being developed as a result of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

 

This is why we have established the Leadership Institute of New Sudan. We call it LIONS

because we know that the image of the “king of beasts” will send a message that we intend to be

strong, we intend to be courageous, we intend to stand up for our rights, and we intend to care for

the next generation and build our Leadership Institute so it becomes a lasting program and will

one day soon provide courses throughout Sudan.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,LIONS is a young program as we gather here this evening. But, we must

grow well and grow quickly because there is an urgency to bring together the best people from

our Diaspora with those willing people holding positions of responsibility in Sudan. We need our

skills, and all our knowledge to be shared by all constituencies and all ethnic groups. Our core

purpose is to develop leaders so that the people of the New Sudan can experience what has been

denied to them: the benefits of prosperity, civil rights, and social equality.

 

 Our focus isdemocracy, which is, political freedom, economic freedom, a free and open media.

We seek to prepare those who are committed to serving their communities throughout Sudan.

 I emphasize serve. Not only are we interested in preparing those who will serve in all levels of government,we are interested in preparing men and women who will serve in civil society, in villages, in rural areas, in schools and health care programs, in setting up businesses to build local economies, in environmental projects and farming endeavors.

 

LIONS is committed to increasing the number of women in each of our programs and to reaching out to the youth of our country.

 

Today in Sudan there is still an opportunity to grasp the vision of a New Sudan and bring it to

life. We, the Leadership Institute of the New Sudan, ask that you join us in making that vision of

equality a reality.

 

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, Tonight, we are here to recognize and honor the

achievements of the participants in the pilot course of the Leadership Institute of New Sudan.

These men and women are the pioneers. They came from Sudan, Middle East, Canada, and parts

of U.S., This evening each will receive a certificate of graduation and carry with them our shared

hope and commitment to the future of Sudan. And now I want to take an important but brief

moment to recognize three people who represent our volunteer committees. I would like to call

upon: Margy McKenna, George Tuto, and Mabior Mayek.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to call upon Dean Tom Farer who took a chance on our new

program and graciously hosted this pilot course at the Korbel School of International Studies.

His authorization made this course possible. His staff has been supportive and encouraging. The

Dean is a man for all seasons and he knows Africa well. A professor, an author, a former

university president, Tom Farer has not only studied processes of economic and political

development around the world he has also been a participant. Just a few highlights ---- He taught

criminal law and procedure to an African police force and assisted in Uganda’s Constitutional

revision process in 1994-95. He served as legal consultant to the United Nations Operation in

Somalia.

 

Intensely concerned about human rights, he serves on the board of the Advisory Board of Human

Rights Watch/Americas and the editorial boards of Human Rights Quarterly and the American

Journal of International Law He is married and has two children and claims to play tennis with

more passion than skill, to play golf with barely controllable passion, and to ski with excessive

prudence.

 

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Magna cum Laude graduate of

Princeton and the Harvard Law School.

 

Introduction of Dean Tom Farer, Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

 

Closing remarks:

It was John F. Kennedy who once said “Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what

YOU can do for our country."

 

Lately we in the Sudanese community have been asking too much from our country, especially

from the government of Southern Sudan (GoSS). But, let me tell you, it’s now time we go home

and do something. We can start by developing necessary leadership skills so that we are able to

engage with today’s issues, that is our Sudanese issues and as well as the global issues. We

cannot win today’s war by using our guns, but we can win by applying our leadership knowledge

and abilities.

 

Our parents have done their part starting from Ananya 1, and ending with the Sudanese Peoples

Liberation movement/army (SPLM/A); Now it’s time to do what our country needs US to do.

And you have made the right choice by attending this LIONS development course.

We don’t know what Khartoum can do in the next years. But let us be ready and prepare

ourselves for the future of our children.

 

We can win tomorrow’s war by spearing up our leadership skills. Put a STOP to tribalism,

clanism, and regionalism; and let us be one! Unity is what LIONS advocates for!

Shape your own future… Completion of your education and developing of your leadership skill

is a must, it can prepare you to be anything you want to be and no one, and I mean no one will

stop you.

 

I would like to send a message to our leaders at home that LIONS is NOT a political party, or is

to be seen as a threat. But you as our leaders should think seriously to adopt LIONS philosophy,

because LIONS will help and can work to support a positive transition to a democratic new

Sudan.

 

Lastly, but not least, I would call upon the U.S government, NGOs, foundations, and American

friends to rally behind and support LIONS as an endeavor that will insure there will be the

capacity to manage, to administer and to lead in the critical years in front of Sudan. Without

strong leaders, aid programs, humanitarian efforts, and community development projects may

not succeed and once established they may not endure.

 

Thank you so very much and may God, the father of us all, bless us all and bless all the people of

Sudan who are suffering greatly.